ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. (KMOX) – An emergency ordinance introduced during Tuesday night’s meeting of the St. Louis County Council would seek to restore some of the greenery that’s already been removed for a proposed 40-acre ice hockey complex.
The measure’s sponsor is council chairman Sam Page, who initially backed the ice plex measure but has since changed his mind on the subject.
“I don’t support the ice complex as it’s been proposed in Creve Coeur Lake Park,” Page confirmed while speaking with reporters following the meeting. “I regret that I supported it in the beginning, but this is where we are.”
Page admitted that a strong show of opposition during a meeting late last month in which more than 100 people addressed the council helped to sway his opinion about the proposal.
“The tipping point for me was, as I learned more about the project, was that is not an appropriate use for this land,” he explained. “This park land is encumbered for an open space use and that should be respected.”
The proposed site for the complex falls within Page’s 2nd District.
St. Louis County executive Steve Stenger, who remains a strong backer of the plan put forward by the Legacy Ice Foundation, was not at Tuesday’s meeting.
However, his spokesman Cordell Whitlock blasted the new ordinance and Page himself for waffling on the issue.
“The county council chair is simply being dishonest,” Whitlock told reporters after the meeting. “He is the one who introduced this bill. The council chair is the one who urged other council members to vote for this.”
He suggested Page’s complaint that there were no public hearings prior to the council’s initial approval of the ice complex plan were disingenuous.
“What happened here is that Mr. Page, months after the fact, saw some public opposition and he claimed — as the county executive has said — that the dog ate his homework and he didn’t know what he was voting on.”
He called Page’s emergency measure “ludicrous”, adding it has no teeth and is “meaningless”..
But council chairman Page claimed that something has to be done to cover up the land that’s already been stripped by bulldozers because a final decision approving the ice plex from the National Park Service might be several months away, and might never come at all.